tv Earth Focus LINKTV March 17, 2018 12:00pm-12:31pm PDT
>> they're extremely persistent and extremely mobile. >> they are now found routinely in stream samples as well as statates >> if i's going to aecect everythg from heybeeso earthworms, u that is seriou innd of itlf. neoniconoids aramong th st widy used pticides billions in profits for the companies that make them. but now, growing evidence shows
that t these insecticides are nt only killing target pests, ththy are killing many beneficial pecies and desestroying the e be of the food chain. thisasas happened before. are they the new ddt? >> we don't want to have an insecticide that kills things it shouldn't. >> we've been somehow railroaded relying entirely on their productcts. >> and i thinknk we should be really concerned. >> it began with honeybebees. in 2006, large numbers of worker bees began to abruptly disappear since then, beekeepers haveve bn losing 30%0% or more of ththeir hives annuallyly, losses that ae higher than normal. this phenomenon came to be called colony collapse disorder.
new york state beekeeper jim doan saw it firsthand. >> i''ve worked in bees for now 46 years, and so i know what normal looksks like, and whahat we've seen over t the last 6 or7 yeaears is not normal. >> honeybeeososs ha consequencesoror thecononomy e-e-thirof f fooproducuc in the u. . depes onon heybeee lllinaon..kkkkkkkk sevel hundrebillion llars of produ e everyear.r. it i is significanant because te crops that are pollinat a are some of them that really add divererererererererererererererr diet. >> hoybybee sseses he beenen link t to muiplele ftors,, like peicicideshabibita grgradatn, m maltritioio pathons, and rrrroa me for pesticide manufacturer bayer crop science, the issue is clear. >> most expes s agree that the
single greatest threat to honeybee heah h is t vararro mite, an invnvnvnvnvnvnvnvnvnvny pasitizesyoung d adult be and vectors bee diseases. where varroa mites are absent or well conntrolled, honeyeses are thrivingng. >> but jim says he knows why his > we had multitude of neonics that were showing up in our bees. it doesn't take much to kill a bee. > neonicototinoids are a relately new cls s ofngngngngnge scenen the 19s. it is the fafatest-growing group of ininsecticidedes in the e united states. >> for the companies that make them, neonicotinoids, or they bring in over $2.6 billion a year in global sales. they are widely used as seed treatments, applied as soil drench, or sprayed onto foliage. in the u.s., they are used on
some 200 milillion acres of cropland,d, on almostst allorn, canola, and half of all soybean crops, as well as many fruits and vegetables. >> they y y y y y y y y y y y y garden products, often at concentrations that are far higher than those you will find in the agricultural sector. >> millions of pounds of these insecticidededededededededededee and suburbrban areas. and in urn areas we'rere usually doing it o have the perfect rose or the nicest rhododendron or a lawn without any insect pests in it. >> manufacturers argue the pest-fighting power of neonics is indispensable to american agriculture. without neonics, consumers would pay higher priceses f for food, fararararar uuld blessss cpetititi, and the u.s. economomy would suffer. >> in the 1940s, we had the
organochlorine insecticides, such as ddt and endosulfan, and initially these pesticides were viewed as a miracle chemistry. >> w we started usising more a d agricululture took k hold in the fifties, sixties, and, really, this is what rachel carson talked about in "silent spring." using all these insecticides was really leading to what she felt was a collapse of biodiversity. we were killing the undernnnning of, uh, , of the food d chain. >> byhehe 1979797979797979797977 shing tget these organochlorine pesticides off the market because of their persistencnce in the envnvironmt anand their poible link withbibl thinning in birds, and other
problems. >> along in the late eighties and early nineties, really people started to thihihihihihii we need something that is more targeted. we need chemicals that are not so broadly toxic to everything. and thahat's really where neonicotinoids came frfro. the idea wawas that these chemicals, although highly toxic to insects, are less acutely toxic to mammals, they're less acutely toxic to fish. they also thought, what if we can target them m inside the plant? ? if wn target them inside the plant, this is going to be better, because the animals outside the plant are not going to be affected. >> they became popular because they we used asas systemic insecticide, so you cocould apy be put in the grndnd and t plananwould take it ups itit grows, eveventually giving the planant protectionon from pests.
>> they'rre found in the leave, pollen and the nectar. and nobody really thought about that weak link, which was toxic pollen, toxic nectar, and toxic for a long time in these crops. >> > neonicotinoids are nveve toxins affecting the nervss system of organisms. bayer r crp science says they are safe for honeybees. ameririca beg t to decle e many years before nnicotinoids s were in use. we've tested these products for many years, and in the field under real exposure condition these products are safe, and h have ts o of studies tow w that. >> many scienststs whos research is not fued b bthe pesticice industry challen t the safety oneonics,aying th even low velslsf exposure can affect the ability hononeybees to comommunicate and c can supps ththeir immune system, making tm momore susceptibible to virusesd varroaoa mites.
>> the effects of these pestiticides on thehe bees is manyfold. it affects ability of the bees is impaired. they can't find their way home. if they can't finththeir wa home, they can't bri resesources back k to the hiveve, the hive s depleted of woworker bees andd >> and it's not only honeybees that are affected. >> we're seeing broad-scale decline in really important pollllinators, l like our bumblebees. perhaps 30% of our quarter of them at risk of extinction in the near future. >> > david goulson, a scieientit based in the united kingdom, looked into how neonicotinoids >> we wanted to know what would happen to a bumblebee nest that was next to a field of a flowering crop like canola that had been treated as a seed dressing with a neonicotinoid. so we simply took bumblebee
nests and we either gave them healthy food for a fortnight or we gave them food that we'd added, um, neonicotinoids to to mimic the exact concentrations that would be in gathered from treated or [indistinct] crop. and then we put the nests outside. they then had to forage for themselves. they had to fly into the landscape and bring back food. we compared how well the nests did that were either treated or were really astonishing. we found that the control nests, the ones eating healthy food, grew faster, got much bigger. compared to the treated n nest, the treated nest produced 85% fewer new queens ththan the healthy, the control nest. if that's happening with wild nests, which there's no reason to believe that it wouldn't be, then that means that the following spring, there are going to be 85% fewer queen bees imagine could have huge knock-on long-term effects if that's happening every year.
>> and it's not only pollinators at risk. in june 20111111111 pessticides, anan independentntp of scientists from 15 nations, found that neonics and the pesticide fipronil also harmed birds, amphibians, reptiles, as welelelelelelelelelelel aquac c invertebrates. earthworms, vital foror soil productivityty, are escicially vulnerable. neonics affect their tunneling behavior and sperm quality. national center for scientific research in france, waonone of tthe lead authorors of the gro's findings.. > [speaking f french] >> the task forcecececececececeo
widespread that the diversity and stability of the world's ecosystems is at risk. the task force based its findings on an analysis s of 800 peer-reviewed reportrts, the mot comprehensive reveview of the scientific literature on systemic pesticides to date. when asked to comment, bayer crop science said the task force only looks at w worst-casee scenarios, and thtututudies under realistic field conditions show that systemic pesticides do not harm honeybees, birds, or other wildlife. >> the main concern with neonics is ththat they have such a highf invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic. they are e extremely persistent and extremely mobile.
and you put those 3 conditions together and you're talking of the invertebrate community. >> they'rere accumulining in t soil. eyey're drawn up b hedgerow pnts, b btrees gg f f f farmlanndnd s so . an so esesntially anything hat's ving ifarmlands being owly poined all e time. >> the otherhihing tt has s me ouout that t ty're much me wawawawawawawawawawawawawawawawa led beliie. thimeans s at en they t intotohe groun with ter, t ty move rdily i across the environment. they are now found routinely in stream across ththe united states. >> birds like swifts and swallows depend on insects as a food source. if insects are ually a body of water, birds are deprived of food.
>> the concentrations of the neonics in our waterways are sufficient to kill the aquaticle birds depend. >> in canada, where neonicotinoids are widely used on crops, dr. christy morrissey is also finding high levels of wetland contamination. she focuses her research in canada's breadbasket, the prairie pothole region of saskatchewan, where agricultural land is laced with potholes, small temporary ponds fed by snowmelt and rain. >> in 2013 we found up to 90% of the ponds s that we sampled n spring, even before the farmers were out seeding, had detectable but our peak concentrations occurred after seeding, not surprising, particularly after rainfall events, at levels that were, you know, upwards of, uh,
3 parts per billion, which is well known to affect aquatic insects. >> with over 40% of the cropland in canada's prairies treated with neonicotinoids, the impact on aquatic insects and the animals that rely on them for dr. momorrissey's s study is the first to look into this issue in canada. >> we have a field study that's trying to understand how neonicotinoids potentially get they affect aquatic invertebrates, which are the base of the food chain for all kinds of other wildlife species, and in particular, birds. so we're trying to link these 3 different things, um, from the--from the pesticide on the field to the wetlands to the bugs, and ultimately to the birds.s. we've found that neonicotinoids across the board have a range of insect species. but for a certain group, and particularly the mayflies
and the midges, these species are extremely sensitive to neonicotinoids. >> the chicks, the young biriri. as do the, uh, the female birds, the hens, when they're laying their eggs. they need that high protein source. and there's some wheectsey aints in birds' life critical.l. and if the--t-the amount, the availability of insects is reduced, it has been shown that that affects reproduction. >> so we put nest boxes up in uncontaminated, that have no pesticide use and in siteses tht are morere agriculturally intensive that hahave extensive use of neonicotinoids. a half into a 4-year study, but is already starting to see some alarming effects. >> the birds are lower body mass or got poor body condition at some of these agriculturally
therere is some lilink or some correlelation between n how wele birds s are doing in terms of their physiology and their health and their body condition and how many bugs or how abundant the bugs are. and that uh, presence and levels of contamination in ththese ponds. s to date on how neonics affect ocean life. this is an area of specialization for dr. craig downs, and what he is learning is troubling. affect crab larvvae as low as 50 parts per quadrillion.n. it afaffects ththeir mitochondra at this level, so that it's a mitochondrial popoison. it can affect their muscles. if the mitochohondria a are damaged ine muscles, it c can cause paralys.
it also causes immune suppression in these crabs. meaning that they are much more sususceptible to bacterialnfnfns when co-e-exposed with imidacloloprid. >> craig downs also studies the impact of imidacloprid on sea urchins. damage in sea urchin sperm as low as 500 parts per trillion. it c causes developmental abnormalities as low as 5 parts per trillion. it means that they're a mutagen. um, it t meas there's a d direct threat to the rreproductivive fitness of the entire biodiversity of marine environments. if you have damage to sperm or if you have damage to eggs, the nexexexexexexexexex will not be as fit or might not come into e existence at all. um, so itit threatens steterili. >> the meso-american reef stretches 700 miles from the
peninsula to honduras. it is ho t to a de d divsity ofararine fe. . andr. dodos found its s conminanatewith neonicononoids rgelely a gricultul fields. >> 8 ars ag a coraleef organini-wide rvey was conducted to meare t themoununt of pescicides at could be foundndn at least 22 col l reef to que c concho a a nuer off coraleeeef fies. . wh we discoved d was at o outf alll the splples tt wewe clecteded 68%% of e sampmps ththththththth collected were contaminated with imidadacloprid. 53% of f the sas wewe collected were c contamimid wiwith fipronil, which is anothr systemic pesticide. so the level reef, espececially thee second-d-largest barrier reef in the world, is pretty disturbing.
>> if neonicscs harm animals,s, in human surrogates like rats and mice, neonics are linked to a wide range of disorders. and in human blood studies, they are linked to dna a damage and cell mutations. environmental protection agency are really supposed to be, um, mamanaging these insecticides in a way that causes minimal harm to humans and other animals. >> startining in the 1990s, agency scientists were raising red flags about the mobility, of these e neonic products, including the effects on pollinators and other wildlife. >> epa documents show agency scientists knew imidacloprid
aquatic invertebrates, and honeybees as early as 1993. yet epa allowed imidacloprid on the u.s. market a year later. after decades of expurure, the consesequences epa a scientistse warned about are now confirmed by the task force on systemic pesticides. >> and unfortunately, these chchemicals are often, and i wod beforee there is s adequate informatioto show whether they arare harmful inin the environo. i thinknk neonicotinonoids are a prime exexample of thahat. >> epa assesses risk posed by pesticides prior to their release on the market. safety studies are typically conducted and paid for by pesticide manufacturers on their own are informed by the best science available. in addition to studies by manufacturers, epa scientists review pesticide
studies from peer-reviewed scientificic from a wide variety of sources when they are available. but studies on pesticide safety that come out after a pesticicide isn thee market may not be evaluated by y epa until a a pesticide cos canakake long a a15 yea.. farmers like drew stabler of laytonsville, maryland say that neonics can be used safely and are indispensable to their business. >> well, i think that any product t that's on t the markes been tested and proven to do a a job, and whave faith i in tt process.yself as a farmer, i've been farming 50, 60 years. i've been lucky enough to make a living doing what i like to do.nd we try y to use everything hat'been tested and approved
and recommended at certain times and how much. we do that both for the benefit of the environment and the benefit of our pocketbook. you keep hearing about extra people in the world that need to bebe fed, so we c't back off on what our production ababilities arare. we feel we he abilities. and some of these products will contriribute to that. >> the reasoson that we're worrd about neneonicotinoids specifically is s because e th'e being used at an unprecedented scale. >> essentially, it seems to me the agri-chemical industry has persuaded everyone that they need these products as an insurance against a pest outbreak in their crop. but actually, most of the t time the inuring against something which is never gonna happen. >> they have a real impact on natural enemies of the crop pests. we can cause secondary
pest outbreaks because these chemicals are so efficient at killing the predators and the parasites of the crop pests. perhrhaps 70% of the neonicotinoids usesed onarae not needed. there's nono pest tt they're controlling. so ifif we just use them only when they were needed, we c could eliminae inseseicide e e e e e e e e e e acres. >> many people would say we need pesticides to grow the food to feed the growing world, the human population, and that maybe it's a necessary evil to sasasasasasasasasasasasasa the way. fine. syou then look to see, to try to weigh up the damage that neonicotinoids seem to be doing against the benefit we get from them in terms of increased crop yield. and amazingly, it turns out there's virtually no evidence that they're actually effective. so there have been a whole sway of studies, particularly from
north america, come out in the last year or two where they've simply grown crops with and without seed dressing and the same yield without the seed dressing as they do with it. >> some a actions arere being tn to curb the use of n neonics. in eeurope, tt european ununion banned 3 neics s fopepeodod o f two years inin 2013. thehe ban tatargets neonics s used oplplas and cerealsls attractivive to popollinators. inin the uniteted states, the saving america's pollinators act was intrtrtrtrtr in congress in 2013. earl blumenauer was one of the sponsors of the bill. >> what we're attempting to do with this legegislation is blow a whistle. stotop moving f forwd with the products witithin the next 6 months that has this potential exceedidingly damagagg effect and prohibit their use until we''re able to follow through on the r research to pre
> but congressional action is unlikely any time soon. in 2014, neonics were banned by the cities of eugene, oregon and spokane, washington n n n n n n property. the u.s. fish and wildlife servicce announceced ps to ban neonics from all wildlife refuges b by 2016. and the white house launched an initiative to improve pollinator research and to protect pollinator habitat. >> there are things that we can't control or not easily regulate, thihings like climatee change, eveven habitat loss are but things like pesticides we can. >> well, nature is pretty good at fixining itself. but then tht assumes that you're going to putting on it now. >> we depend on all these things. we depend on bees to pollinate our crops, on worms
(applause) manuel: so, i want to thank rachel for that kind introduction, although as a nerd for social justice, i feel like i should have a pocket protector on right now. um, so,e qualifications about economists. it's said if you took all the economists in the world and laid them end to end, they still couldn't reach a conclusion. uh. (audience laughing) it's alsosososososososososososoo ecomists in the world and laid them end to end, that might be a good thing. uh. (audience laughing) so, what i'm gonna talk about today is a little bit about really sort of movement building to transform the situations th into that in just a second. i